Big Island Now:

The Hawai‘i Department of Health (DOH) reports two more cases of rat lungworm disease (angiostrongyliasis) contracted on Hawai‘i Island.

Health officials recently learned about an adult visitor to the state who had been vacationing in North Hawai‘i last year. The visitor became ill in late December 2018 and was not diagnosed until they were hospitalized for their symptoms when they returned to the mainland. Confirmatory testing was conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The individual was hospitalized for a short time and has since recovered. The adult visitor was the seventh person from Hawai‘i Island who tested positive for angiostrongyliasis in 2018, bringing the statewide total to nine confirmed cases last year.

Another case of rat lungworm disease was identified in an adult resident from East Hawai‘i. The individual became ill in January and was hospitalized in early February for treatment of their symptoms.

Laboratory testing though DOH’s State Laboratories Division confirmed the individual’s infection. This is the first case of rat lungworm disease confirmed in Hawai‘i for this year.

DOH disease investigators are conducting a detailed investigation to learn more about the patients and possible sources of infection. Both investigations are still ongoing, but it is unknown at this time exactly how or where the individuals became infected.

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